Indianapolis Motor Speedway chose Guy Fieri, best-selling author and host of Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" to be the honorary Pace Car driver for the 96th Indianapolis 500 on May 27. In this position, Fieri drives the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Pace Car to lead the field of 33 drivers to the green flag to start the 200-lap contest.
An avid classic car collector, Fieri owns a red 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible featured in his hit TV show. He also has a 2011 Chevy Camaro SS convertible, a 2007 Chevy Corvette, 1970 Chevelle SS 454, 1967 Chevy C10 pickup, 2006 Chevrolet Kodiak C4500 4x4, 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500 and a 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV, making the foodie a true member of Chevrolet's vaunted BowTie Brigade.
“There are races and then there are races,” Fieri said. “And without a doubt, the Indy 500 is the race that I’ve always wanted to attend. And now, to be driving the Corvette Pace Car … this is going to be unbelievable.”
Fieri co-owns and operates seven restaurants in his native Northern California; he's also demonstrated a deep commitment to working with children. In 2011 launched CWK (Cooking with Kids), a program that encourages developing healthy eating habits to address childhood obesity, strengthen the family unit by sharing quality time in the kitchen and increase children's self-esteem in a fun and positive manner.
Corvette ZR1 pace car waits for Guy Fieri on pit road - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Fieri will drive to start the Indy 500 features a 6.2-liter LS9 engine with 638 horsepower; it's the fastest production car ever offered by General Motors, with a top speed of 205 mph. The ZR1 uses a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox and dual-disc clutch that apply power smoothly. Michelin Power Sport 2 tires are mounted to 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels and there is specific sport-tuned suspension providing more than 1g of cornering grip.
The ZR1 also features magnetic selective ride control, launch control, four-channel ABS, Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brake rotors and an aluminum body structure with advanced structural composites, featuring carbon fiber. The 2013 model year marks the 60th anniversary for Corvette and is the final year for the current C6 iteration.
“We look forward to welcoming Guy Fieri to the Indianapolis 500,” said Jeff Belskus, IMS president and chief executive officer. “He’s full of energy and is a longtime ‘car guy’ – a perfect match for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’ I’m sure he’ll remember forever the moment he fires up the incredible 2013 Corvette ZR1 and paces the field to the green flag.”
This year's race marks the 23rd time Chevrolet has paced the Indy 500; it's the 11th time for a Corvette to be the Pace Car - both event records. Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports noted, "We are excited to have Guy Fieri drive the Corvette ZR1, the official Pace Car for the 2012 Indianapolis 500. Guy will bring his genuine enthusiasm as he leads the starting field to the green flag. We are humbled by his passion for Chevy."